What cables

I’d like to record on a MacBook Pro voice mail now residing on an iPhone. So, I connected the charging cable (for the iPhone) from the iPhone’s lightning port to the MacBook’s UBS port. I followed online directions to make the recording but nothing is recorded. Am I using the correct cable or must a cable be connected from the iPhone’s headphone port to some other MacBook port?

How about you set your MBP and iPhone next to each other in a quiet room and do an acoustic dub?

The sound comes out of the bottom of my iPhone and my MBP microphone is behind the grill just left of the Shift Key.

Pick a quiet room because the MBP will record everything.

Start Audacity recording from the Built-In Microphone and play the mail. Adjust the volumes so the blue waves are about half-way filling up the space top to bottom. About like this.

The bouncing sound meter should tip up to between -9dB to -6dB. Just turning yellow. The meter should never turn red.

You can do this with no special cables and be out the door while others are Googling for adapter cables and struggling with sound formats. Consult your instructions if you don’t know where your MBP microphone is. It does move around with production date.


Thank you. That’s certainly easier than the alternatives.

On playback, however, through the MBP speakers, the volume is not at the level as it was recorded using Audacity. Do you have any suggestions?

Also, after saving the audio file to the MBP, how does one delete the file on Audacity to begin another one?

When you’re recording, using Audacity, to save voice mail to your MBP, what settings do you use on Audacity?

Thank you, much.


When you’re recording, using Audacity, to save voice mail to your MBP, what settings do you use on Audacity?

Note you can set up the recording as tests and then rewind everything and record it for real. You don’t have to hit it first time out. Also, once inside Audacity, the work is subject to editing where you can cut off the sound of you spilling coffee that one time. If you want, you can “slate” the recordings. The acoustic technique will pick up your voice. “Aunt Lidia Vacation, December 13th.” [press play on the phone.]

I do it that way. Even if the files get scrambled, the date is burned into the sound.

The recording is subject to two different volume controls, the playback on the phone and the recording volume in Audacity. Many of these adjustments need to be made whether you use the acoustic technique or not.

Audacity recording volume is the slider next to the microphone symbol. Share the work. If you make the phone too loud, it will distort the work by overloading the speaker in the phone. If you adjust Audacity too loud, it may clip or distort the digital recording. Too low and the background will be noisy.

The blue wave tips should occasionally reach half-way (0.5) on the timeline. After you get a good recording, you can boost the work with no distortion by using Effect > Amplify > New Peak -1dB > OK. That’s about the maximum safe volume of a sound file without using special production tools and techniques. It also accounts for slight volume shifts if you decide to produce MP3 sound files of the work.

The starting point should be to File > Export individual messages as perfect quality WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit. That’s your archive. You can ship those to anybody else for playback on all three computer types and safely make those into anything else. If you start with MP3, you can get sound damage if you try to edit them.

Use good filename hygiene. No punctuation marks other than -dash- and underscore. Aunt-Lidia-Vacation_2019-12-13. That’s today’s date in ISO format. You can shorten it, but try to stay consistent. AuntLidiaVacation191213. I don’t do that. I like the longer dates.

For searches to work well, the date should have the same number of characters. December First is not 2019-12-1. It’s 2019-12-01.

I close Audacity between events. If I don’t, Audacity will try to save UNDO for every event and message and eventually run out of room on the computer.

I don’t know that I would give the MBPs any speaker awards. The compression drivers in my tiny Macbook Air are much better at quality sound than the larger MBP’s speakers.


You are never going to produce sound files as loud as bought-and-paid-for music or performances. Most of them are specially processed and managed to be as loud as possible—or at least as loud as the competition.

It’s not just turning up the volume. You could do that. The performances are also Dense, Tight and Forceful from compression, limiting and volume management tools. You can do some of that in Audacity, but that’s not dubbing any more. That’s post production editing and requires decision making with good speakers or headphones. Bring strong coffee.

Digital sound has a limit. On the Audacity timeline, it’s 100% (1.0) and the bouncing sound meter goes to the right and turns red. Digital sound assign numbers to the sound and if the performance gets too loud, the system runs out of numbers and just stops following the show. That’s permanent damage, sounds terrible and is to be avoided.


I close Audacity between events.

That works for me. If you have a million really short-form events, you can the timeline out and start a new one. Make a time limit such as don’t go over a half-hour or so without restarting Audacity.


Thank you for your help.

It turns out that I could never get the sound quality to be good. So, I ended up emailing myself the digital voice mail recordings, then saving them as digital files. The quality is as good as the original digital voice mail.

digital voice mail recordings

So you just forwarded them to an email on your MBP?

The system kept strongly suggesting email when I tried to transfer sound files. I was recording much longer passages in VoiceMemo and MusicMemo with the idea I was going to produce a book. Managing the files—after I successfully recorded them—was just so painful and wacky I put the idea/project on the back burner.

That was going to answer the question of which production microphone to buy. How about beginning with the one in your pocket?


It appears from practicing with various methods of moving voice mails from a cell phone to a computer that emailing, as an attachment, the voice mail to the email inbox and then saving the attachment to the hard drive produces the best quality replay of any of the methods. And, it’s pretty straight forward - no cable, no software, direct.

Thank you.